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Unsung heroes in startups

In startups, the heroes often cited are the founders. Or the product leads. Or the designers. They are the ones making the headlines or get invited to speak at conferences.

And for good reason. They are driving the vision of the product experience and often breaking new ground. So the praise is often justified.

But they aren’t the only heroes.

More and more, I’m paying more attention to the unsung heroes in these organizations. And in my mind it’s the folks that are keeping the network operations up and running. They deserve a lot more credit.

These days, it’s popular convention to believe with things like Amazon Web Services, all you need are people focusing on the front end and the back end just works.

It’s simply not the case. The amount of things required on the back end are never ending: scaling, CPU loads, managing peak concurrency, storage, API services, paying down technical debt, integration, supporting new front end products, spam, speed improvements, bugs, cost efficiency, search, etc.

And these are the people get notified in the middle of the night when shit goes wrong or when they get a DDOS attack. They are the same people that work weekends or very late at night to deal with site maintance to make all of this work and cause the least amount of interruption to users.

So next time you hit one of your favorite apps or web services, take a moment and give thanks to the team supporting that feature on the back end.

I know I will.